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Adobe Soundbooth CS4's Heal Tool

By Kevin McAuliffe

As an editor, I run into many problems in my day to day work.  One that always creeps up from time to time is when a DOP has gone out and shot a talent stand-up, and has come back, and the extro throw has a huge hit of distortion in it and, of course, they only did one take.  What do you do? 

That's where Adobe's Soundbooth CS4's (ASB) Heal Tool comes into play.  This tool is often overlooked, but it shouldn't be because it's very easy to use, and gives you great results.  Let's see how it works.

First, we need a sound file that has distortion in it, and I just happen to have one:



Now, we can launch ASB, and import our file by clicking on the "Import" button.

Now, we can double click the "Distortion.aiff" file, and we can now see the audio waveforms in the editor window.

The audio waveforms are great, but what we really need to see is a view of the spectral frequency, and we can see it by pressing SHFT+F.

Now that we have the spectral frequency view, we can see where the distortion is.

Next, in the "Tasks" tab, we are going to click on the "Remove a Sound" tab, and we now have access to the "Heal" tool.

I like to work using the Lasso tool, so what I'm going to do now, is simply lasso the area that I want to clean up, and then press the "Auto Heal" button.

You will notice right away that if you are working with a stereo file, ASB will automatically lasso both channels for you, so you don't need to worry about your restoration work being slightly different on each channel. If you are having problems seeing your audio in the spectral frequency view, you can adjust the resolution and vertical scale to your liking to really get in and "see" your sound. Here is what my audio looked like when I was finished.

And here is what it sounded like

The distortion is gone and the only thing that is left is a bit of warble in the audio at the point that I did the "healing".  The thing that you have to remember when working with the heal tool, is that it is a miracle worker to a point.  At the point of distortion, your location sound has been permanently altered, so it can only do so much with what it has, but needless to say, my audio now sounds worlds better then it did before I started.

If you have Adobe's Master Collection or Production Premium CS4, and haven't checked out Soundbooth CS4, you really are missing out on a great program that can help you fix audio problems quickly and easily. This fix took about five minutes to do which, when a client is sitting over your shoulder, makes you look like a superstar.  I want to thank Jon Elkin's Goalie Schools for letting me use the sound bite for this tutorial.  For more information on Adobe's Soundbooth CS4, you can check it out at www.adobe.com .

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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at kevinpmcauliffe@gmail.com

Related Keywords:Adobe Soundbooth tutorial, soundbooth healing tool, audio editing, audio editor

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